Here are some things that have been hanging out in my tabs:
Max Gladstone, “A Year of Reading Differently.”
“Why the hell,” sez I on the train, gasping, exhilarated, overcome with awe, “did it take me this long to read To the Lighthouse?” “The Fire Next Time is every bit as brilliant as people have been telling me for a decade, and it’s only like eighty pages long. Why did I not—” Midnight’s Children! Fucking Midnight’s Children, which is a groundbreaking, critically acclaimed literary novel about the X-Men, what was I waiting for. I knew I loved Woolf. I loved Satanic Verses. So why did I read [stack of mediocre novels] before these?
One exists, of course, within a karmically determined universe. One’s choices, even at the most minute level, are shaped by overlapping fields of power arising from the movements and injustices of history. If we’re not conscious in the way we engage with those fields and manipulate them, we perpetuate them. But it’s scary to see that face to face, to recognize its presence in one’s migration of one’s library. (I owned all the books I mentioned in that paragraph already, and had for at least five years. I just hadn’t read them.)
Max again, with a magnificently geeky piece on Star Wars: The Force Awakens: “The Force Awakens RPG Madness.”
I think part of my excitement stems from how open the universe feels. A lot of the setting power of the Original Trilogy rises from its focus on the Imperial Periphery. We see the edges of power, where the Empire projects force and interesting stuff happens, where the destinies of nations hinge on a single battle or moral choice, rather than the metropole, which corners more slowly if at all. The prequel trilogy’s political ambitions tangled its story with the engines of power that drive the Galaxy Far, Far Away—and limited its characters to maneuvering within those engines, rather than “taking the first step into a wider world.”
A friend of mine has written a glorious CYOA fanfic for Sunless Sea (I don’t even play Sunless Sea! I haven’t played Fallen London in years!) which you should all go look at: “The Virulent.”
I can’t remember who passed me the link to this piece on Dorothy Arzner, a director in the early years of Hollywood, but it makes for fascinating reading: “Dorothy Arzner, Hidden Star Maker of Hollywood’s Golden Age.”
Type the name “Dorothy Arzner” into Netflix’s search bar and you’ll get zero results.
It’s an odd outcome, considering Arzner, a prolific golden age film director, has 16 feature films—among the most of any woman in Hollywood, ever. She gave Katharine Hepburn one of her first starring roles. She navigated the transition from silent films to talkies with panache, inventing the boom microphone in the process. And yet, she is largely unknown today.
And finally: the best picture on the internet: